Two political refugees from Bangladesh were allegedly tricked into cleaning up radioactive material at the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan after being promised it would extend their temporary visas, according to a report published Wednesday in the local newspaper Chunichi Shimbun.

Monir Hossein, 50, and Dulal Hossein, 42, were reportedly active supporters of the opposition Bangladesh National Party and fled their home country over "persecution by the government." The pair sought asylum in Japan and were granted a six-month visa while their applications for refugee status were being processed. During this time, a contractor active in the recovery process of the world's worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine told the men that their visas would be extended if they participated in decontamination work near the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Plant, which was damaged in a deadly 2011 earthquake and Tsunami. The men did the work, but the deal had reportedly been fake.

"We believed the visa story because they said it's a job Japanese people don't want to do," Monir Hossein reportedly told the newspaper. 

Between January and March 2015, the men worked at the village of Iitate, about 30 miles south of the ruined site, which still hosted deadly levels of radiation powerful enough to incapacitate robotic probes being used to explore the nuclear facility. Sometime during or after this period, the company changed its name and closed its offices in Fukushima City. The firm did not return calls or faxes from local media and, when reporters attempted to access its headquarters in Nagoya City, the address was shared by a number of other companies. An official involved with refugee affairs at Japan's Ministry of Justice said the case was "an extremely serious problem" and that the culprits would be caught.

"The length of asylum seekers' residence permits and them doing decontamination work are unrelated. If anyone is giving inaccurate explanations about this, it's problematic," Mitsushi Uragami told Reuters

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) operators of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Plant were tasked with a $188 billion cleanup process that has been subject to numerous delays and obstacles. Residual nuclear fuel has been spotted in the site's No. 2 reactor, but efforts to safely access the hazardous material have so far failed. Japan's environmental ministry was reportedly unable to confirm the report, but the Fukushima Labour Bureau stated that more than half of the 1,020 companies involved in the cleanup had violated Japan's safety and labor codes, according to Reuters.